Four Young Farmers competing in three areas of competition all had great showings at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 2019 Annual Convention in New Orleans, La., Jan. 12-15, following their wins at Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) annual meeting last December.
Discussion Meet: Berrien County Farm Bureau’s Tera Baker reached the Final Four Discussion Meet, finishing second in the competition.
The question for the final round was, “Money talks. How can farmers implement market trends and develop responsive business plans to generate value-added ventures and farm profits?“
“The Discussion Meet has been a really unique experience for me for it gets my adrenaline flowing and thinking in different ways and beyond the boundaries I’m use to in my daily life,” Baker said. “Being selected as first runner-up in AFBF’s Discussion Meet is a real honor. Now, with this journey complete, I’m excited to be involved in Farm Bureau and look forward to going home and spreading the message and enthusiasm about the organization in my county and community.”
The winner of the Discussion Meet was Jackie Mundt of Kansas.
Excellence in Ag Award: Clinton County Farm Bureau’s Theresa Sisung competed well in the YF&R Excellence in Agriculture competition, reaching the top ten. Her presentation focused on connecting one’s profession with outreach outside of work, in an effort to encourage youth to be involved in ag, and to help inform the non-farm public about the industry.
“My presentation focused on my involvement in agriculture, both in my career and on my home farm,” Sisung said. “I talked about some of the issues that could affect ag in the future, why I choose to be involved in working with 4H and FFA and concluded with my goals for the next five years.
“Regarding the competition itself, I began this journey last summer in preparation for the state contest and was lucky enough to win and advance to the national level. I’d strongly recommend to other Young Farmers to step out of their comfort zone and experience these contests. They’re great opportunities to not only grow professionally, but to meet others from across the state and nation.”
This year’s winner of the Excellence in Ag award was Jake and Melissa Raburn of Florida.
Achievement Award: Kent County Farm Bureau’s Bryan and Katie Heffron represented Michigan in the Achievement Award contest.
“We were proud to be able to represent Michigan on the national level,” said the Heffrons. “Applying for the award allowed us two perspectives, the first being to take a long look at how our farming operation has expanded and progressed over time. Second, it opened our eyes to how much time and dedication we have committed to Farm Bureau, the organization we love. On the national level, it allowed us to meet and network with other young farmers from all across this great country. It was interesting to hear about their different farming operations as well as challenges they face as young farmers. And it was amazing to see that some of the issues we face are similar across the nation. Overall, it was a great experience, and we’d recommend all young farmers to apply for the young farmer awards.”
The winner of the Achievement Award was Justin and Erica Edwards of North Carolina.
Winners of the 2019 YF&R competitions will receive a new Ford truck valued at $35,000. The three runner-ups will each receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor valued at $23,840. Third place finalists will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 parts card, as well as $2,000 of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise. Fourth place finalists will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 parts card.